The main figure in a General Services Administration spending scandal took trips to Hawaii, Napa Valley, and South Pacific islands, all after the agency's inspector general warned top officials about the excesses.
A timeline released by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Tuesday shows that GSA executive Jeffrey Neely took five trips totaling 44 days, including a 17-day trip to Hawaii, Guam and Saipan that he and his wife planned as a birthday celebration.
All came after a May 2011 briefing by Inspector General Brian Miller on his preliminary findings. While Miller was still 11 months away from publicly releasing his final report on GSA spending, he issued the early warning to stop the travel. But it did no good.
Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., who chaired the Transportation subcommittee hearing, summed up his frustration and that of others by telling GSA witnesses the agency suffered from "this culture of fraud, waste, corruption" and possibly cover-ups and inside deals with vendors.
"This certainly is not only a dark day for GSA but a dark day for the U.S. government. We wonder why there is so much distrust in government," he said.